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World Cup likely last hurrah for traditional broadcasters: Ooyala

This year’s Soccer World Cup – which sees an estimated 3.4 billion people tune in for the live final – could well be the last hurrah for traditional broadcasters in the face of growing pressures from OTT streaming services, according to Ooyala.

The online video analytics and monetization specialist – an independent Telstra subsidiary –  noted that while online streaming via mobile phones and tablets had soared in popularity amongst the millennial segment, football’s World Cup seemed to be clinging on as a rare standout event where viewers will still choose to switch on the TV.

“How we tune-in has changed considerably since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and users have become much more critical of what it is their services have to offer,” said Ooyala principal industry analyst Jim O’Neil.  “While live, linear OTT viewing is expected to surpass traditional broadcast TV viewing… viewers still [regard] the television experience for big sporting events as sacred.”

“Consumer frustration – particularly with the number of streaming services available to viewers – is driving improvements in the overall OTT experience: from streamlined authentication, to better content curation, personalisation, and easier search and discovery,” O’Neil continued, flagging that near-instant start-up, consistent video stream quality and uninterrupted delivery without buffering will be critical to end-user experience and to keeping audiences engaged during events like the World Cup.

“The ‘Millennial Flu’ means that most people already struggle to watch content for hours at a time so, while the television remains a popular choice, they should expect their customers to watch alternative content online simultaneously if they fail on any of those ‘Quality of Experience’ factors,” he added.

Ooyala said that while OTT providers continue to pioneer the media industry on new technologies, they must accept that they still account for just a fraction of today’s audience engagement when it comes to this year’s World Cup.

“With highlights from earlier games available on YouTube, and commentary from friends available on social media, overall participation via a number of devices will undoubtedly be greater than ever before, but – for now – the television has solidified its place amongst millennial audiences when it comes to football,” the firm said.

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